Rivers House moves to probe Wike’s projects
Panel forecloses warrant of arrest for Ngofa, others
THE Rivers State House of Assembly is to evaluate all projects undertaken by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration since coming on board on May 29 this year.
The legislature said the move was to ensure value for every penny spent from government coffers.
The Speaker, Ikuinyi Ibani, said the proposed exercise was devoid of witch-hunt, but in tune with the present Assembly’s disposition to take seriously its oversight functions.
The resolution followed a motion presented by the House Leader and representative of Obio/Akpor Constituency, Martin Amaewhule on ‘assessment of the performance of the state government from May 29, 2015 to date’.
Amaewhule, in the motion, noted that the current legislature had approved the governor’s N30 billion loan request for execution of some road projects in the state, saying: “I urged the House to visit the projects’ sites to ascertain if the funds were used as requested by the state government.”
He also urged the Assembly to make pronouncement of their findings to the citizenry after the inspection.
The lawmakers, in their separate submissions, recalled that in the first 30 days of the governor in office, the House approved the sum of N30 billion for the state government.
They upheld that it was imperative to find out how the funds were spent, adding that there had been much publicity on the achievements of the present administration.
However, the Speaker reiterated that members of the Eighth Assembly would not be armchair representatives, emphasising that there should be value for money.
“We believe that the application of that fund is important. Before an appraisal is made, we have to move to see how things are done.
“We are duty bound to check what the Executive is doing. Committee of the whole should undertake and ascertain what are on ground”.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the sale of state assets has ruled out warrant of arrest on the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oji Ngofa, former Commissioner of Agriculture, Emma Chinda and 11 erstwhile council chairmen over a N4 billion agricultural loan.
The chairman, Justice George Omereji, said the panel was, however, satisfied that Chinda and the affected council chairmen who allegedly collected several millions of naira under the guise of presidents of cooperative societies, were deliberately impugning summons despite being provided an atmosphere for fair hearing.
Omereji, who spoke while delivering ruling on a motion brought by their counsel, Ken Atsuwete notifying the commission of a pending suit seeking to restrain the it from summoning or probing them, recalled that he had clearly stated in his inaugural speech that the commission was merely on fact-finding and thus ruled out the use of the police in the service of summons to persons or entities.
“The commission is satisfied that the persons summoned are all aware that their names have been mentioned as collecting millions of naira in the name of presidents of cooperatives. Their failure to appear before the commission which is deliberate show they were given fair hearing to come and explain how and what they did with millions of naira paid out to them from the N4 billion agricultural loan fund.”